Financial Help For Farmers in the Face of Covid-19

*This is an evolving situation and will be updated

PPP Loans: Paycheck Protection Loans are obtained through a lender (Yankee Farm Credit, VEDA, your bank, etc) that reimburses for payroll and other expenses spent over an 8 week period as long as employees are hired back or retained. You can use the money for employee salaries, paid sick or medical leave, insurance premiums, and mortgage, rent, and utility payments.

EIDL/EIDG: The latest act allows farmers to qualify for this program. The EIDL program is a loan program directly through SBA which can be used to cover a wide variety of expenses. It provides a grant (the EEIG) up to $10,000 ($1,000 per employee up to 10) whether the applicant takes the loan or not. Note, there has been a major backlog in applications and most Vermont businesses have not yet heard back from SBA after applying. Hopefully that will be resolved soon.

SBA news release as of 5/4/20 SBA has re-opened portal for applications! If you were unable apply before you should be able to apply now.

PUA: Pandemic Unemployment Insurance is available for self-employed individuals including farmers. Self-employed farmers are eligible to apply for PUA if you have had some level of lost income. Many farmers may be eligible, and if so, you’d receive a minimum of $790 per week and a maximum of $1,113 per week.

USDA funds: U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue announced the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP). This new U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) program will take several actions to assist farmers, ranchers, and consumers in response to the COVID-19 national emergency. See the press release. The plan will provide $16 billion in direct payments to farmers and $3 billion in food product purchases for distribution through the emergency food system. Details will still need to be rolled out but we expect dairy producers will receive $2.9 billion in direct payments, and $2.1 billion will go to specialty crop producers. The payments are based on milk production and calculated through a formula. They have not announced a specific timeline, but there is indications that sign-ups will be through FSA, and payments may be as early as late May. See this Hoard’s Dairyman article on some more thoughts.

New link – Webinar on CFAP, Thursday, May 14, 2020, at 1 p.m. ET.

Do you need help navigating all of this? UVM Extension Ag Business / Farm Viability can help.

Do you have questions for our office? Give us a call at 802-388-4969 and we will get back to you.

Financial Opportunities for Farmers and other Reminders

Funding for Farm Equipment

The Agency of Agriculture, Food and Markets (VAAFM) has just announced that funding is available for farmers in the Capital Equipment Assistance Program (CEAP). Financial assistance is available for new or used innovative equipment that will aid in the reduction of surface runoff of agricultural wastes into State waters, improve water quality of State waters, reduce odors from manure application, separate phosphorus from manure, decrease greenhouse gas emissions, and reduce costs to farmers.   You can learn more about the program on VAAFM website or by printing the CEAP Program Factsheet.

All CEAP Applications DUE (or postmarked by), November 1, 2019.

If you have questions about applying for CEAP funds you can contact VAAFM 802-622-4098. If you have questions about applying for CEAP funds you can also give our office a call at 802-388-4969.

Reminder – Current Use Deadline

Annual certification of agricultural land and farm buildings is upcoming. All owners of agricultural land and/or farm buildings that are also enrolled in the Current Use Program, must annually certify that their agricultural land and farm buildings meet the requirements of enrollment and continue to be eligible for the program.

You should have received an Agricultural Certification form in the mail in late September and the certification submission deadline is November 1, 2019.

You may certify online. Instructions should have been included in your mailings. Additional information about certification is online.
If landowners are not sure whether or not they need to submit a certification, scroll down the webpage listed above to the “Find My Span” box. If you have questions, call the Current Use Program at (802) 828-5860.

Working Lands Program

The Agency of Agriculture, Food and Markets (VAAFM) has just announced that funding is available for farmers through the Working Lands Enterprise Initiative (WLEB). You can learn more about the program online.

Pre-application period begins October 8, 2019 and is due November 3, 2019. Invited full applications are due January 26, 2020.

*Dairy-Focused Funds: For this grant round, Working Lands has $500,000 to specifically target projects from dairy farm applicants. This funding will be allocated across business grant categories, and projects from $5,000 – $150,000 are eligible.

The WLEB has interpreted this legislative mandate by outlining eligible activity areas, details of which can be found on the website, but include diversification, value-added and innovative solutions to soil health and water quality. Contact Working Lands staff with questions at (802) 622-4477. If you have questions about applying for WLEB funds you can also give our office a call at 802-388-4969. 

Water Quality Grants for Farmers

This opportunity is funded through the state and offered from the Vermont Housing and Conservation Board (VHCB). The Viability Program provides grants of up to $40,000 to help Vermont farmers invest in water quality-related on-farm infrastructure. Any Vermont farm with a gross farm income of $15,000 or more that is required to comply with Vermont’s Required Agricultural Practices (RAPs) is eligible to apply. For more information about the program visit their website.

All Applications DUE November 8, 2019 (the next round will be February 7, 2020).

If you have questions about applying for a VHCB Water Quality Grant call VHCB at 802-828-5587. If you have questions about applying for VHCB funds you can also give our office a call at 802-388-4969.